Not what I meant, but good morning to you too

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bikefind
Participant
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I was riding on Murray Ave, coming north out of Greenfield, getting ready to make a right up onto Burchfield, and a guy driving a U-haul is coming down off Burchfield, waiting to turn onto Murray. I make my hand signal indicating the turn, and he gives me that “hey-yo-howyadoin” wave you give when you think someone’s just said hello to you.

So much for communication. Lovely little interaction though.


Mick
Participant
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I’m not sure if this is how you were signalling

Oscar Swan mentions in his book that he finds it irritationg that some bike riders give the “car without turn lights” signal for a right turn. That is the left hand up.

I agree with him.

A right hand pointing right is instantly recognizable as a signal for a right hand turn.

The left hand up? The first impression it gives is the person is signalling a stop or waving. The fact that most most drivers once saw this signal in a drivers manual doesn’t kick into the brain for a few seconds (if ever). Being “correct” doesn’t make the signal effective.

In a similar misundertanding, I once hi-fived a guy on Carson who was trying to hale a cab. He moved his hand at the last second.


netviln
Participant
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Wasnt there a video on youtube about a guy doing that in newyork? the whole high five people haliing cabs?


dwillen
Participant
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rsprake
Participant
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Ha ha. I use my right hand now and depending on how busy it is or the neighborhood I will shake and wave my hand indicating that yes, I am trying to turn in that direction over there.


Lyle
Participant
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I also recommend that people use the right handed version of the signal, but “irritating?” Dude needs to lighten up.


dwillen
Participant
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I like the left hand up signal in some cases. Bombing down Greenfield Rd well over the speed limit and making the right onto Greenfield bridge, for instance. I stick my left hand up, and that car that was thinking they might try and pass me, tires squealing, going around the corner just had to take two seconds to process wtf I meant by that hand signal, which is fine by me. This usually means they wait until I make the turn before they slam on the gas and race to the red light.

If I pointed with my right arm, that may indicate I’m going to move over onto the sidewalk or some random nonsense, and they would feel justified going around at a very unsafe point in the road.

It could be some deeper psychological reasoning since the left arm signal is in the “path” of the passing vehicle, and the right arm signal is not. Whatever the case, it seems to work for me.


ejwme
Participant
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I like enhancing my signals with moving hands, and I almost always use the “pointing” method rather than the signal mathod. Originally it was because I wasn’t sure the proper signals, and really just wanted to avoid being hit. Now it’s because I doubt most motorists know them either.

If I’m at a light I try to make eye contact with all the stopped cars while I point to myself and point in the direction I’m going, if I know the light is long enough I request a thumbs up from them that they understand (I don’t know how I do this, but it seems to work if they look at me). Often if I start this with one motorist it’s interesting enough to the others that I have their attention as well, making the job easy enough even during shorter lights.

In preparing for winter riding, I’m looking for michael jackson gloves, or something else similarly shiny and reflective to enhance my pointing/waggling/confirmation turn signal technique. I might affix blinkies to my hands or wrists as well, if I can avoid blinding myself while riding normally.

Sometimes, though rarely, it does feel like I’m laying out semaphore for semiconscious fish, and no message gets through.


netviln
Participant
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I agree with pointing.. If I am using my left hand to indicate a right turn I will also point with my finger.. similar to the “look at these guns!!” body builder pose and move my hand back and forth a bit like a blinker.


Mick
Participant
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I might affix blinkies to my hands or wrists as well, if I can avoid blinding myself while riding normally.

Rite Aid sometimes has “fingerlights” – miniture LED slashlights that velcro to the fingers.

When they work, they are great for traffic. Signal turns, wave a car through a 4-way stop, signal for a car to pass you, and even make a car stop for you. Cars respond well to them.

Have on on heach hand is great, but even having one works pretty well.

They are cheap in every sense of the word, though. They are only something like $2. Typically, they will start with intermittent failures in the first hour of use. I’ve had mabe 20 of them and only one lasted long enough to wear out the battery. The reliability seems to be getting worse over time.

Last time I asked for them in the Squirrel Hill Rite Aid, they said “No. When we have them, some guy comes in and buys all the ones we have.” I laughed. I’m that guy.

If the reliability were fixed, they would be well worth $10-$20.

http://www.amazon.com/Super-Bright-White-Finger-Light/dp/B000OZSSU0


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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This may also be related to which side your front brake is on. I’ve mentioned before, I usually have my front brake on the right side, as on a motorcycle. (Left is always the clutch. You almost never need to shift while signaling a turn.) I really would rather have the greater part of my braking ability in the hand that’s already touching the bike. Hence I signal all turns with my left hand.


burgoofj
Participant
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A recent PA drivers manual states to signal a right turn on a bike use your right hand. I’m pretty sure that this is different from several decades ago when I was studying the manual. Back then it said to use the left hand, just like in a car. For fun I sometimes ask 20 or 30 somethings about driving hand signals and usually get a blank stare.


rsprake
Participant
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Apparently you can do either. Left hand up, or point right. The left hand up does confuse people or make them think you want them to slow down which is sometimes good.


JZ
Participant
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For greater visibility, I always use the arm that’s more towards the center of the road. That’s usually the left.


ieverhart
Participant
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I typically point, but also flick my wrist, maybe twice a second. I think a little bit of motion may be better at attracting someone’s attention, as would are lights. Flashing lights especially seem to get someone’s attention in my experience. Remember elementary school when the teacher was trying to get everyone to calm down? They turned the lights on and off.


alnilam
Participant
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I do the left hand up for reasons similar to Stu, but somehow I developed the habit of doing it with a closed fist. So people might think I’m signaling solidarity? Sometimes I fear someone’ll not see it clearly and mistake an upraised fist for a one-fingered salute, but that hasn’t happened yet to my knowledge.


Mick
Participant
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If I do the left-handed right turn signal (which is rare), I make sure I point my thumb and move my hand so that it’s clear what I am signaling.

The flat hand looks like Tonto signalling the Lone Ranger to stop and look at the tracks.


bikefind
Participant
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Tonto and the Lone Ranger? I can see how you and Oscar could find that irritating.


Lyle
Participant
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How?


bikefind
Participant
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ha


Mick
Participant
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Kathi
Participant
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The left hand signal has always bewildered me.

Being a bike rider as a child, I could never make sense out of the “right hand up” signal for wanting to go left. It seemed common sense to use the left hand, if I wanted to go left and the right hand if I wanted to go right. Isn’t it difficult enough being a bike rider, let alone trying to give a confusing signal to a motorist???? This post is great!! Love the Lone Ranger jokes!!


joeframbach
Participant
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It’s the other way around. For a left turn, the standard is to use the left hand out. For a right turn, the standard is to put the left hand up. The reason is that the front brake is controlled by the left hand. Most cyclists will go head-over-handlebars if they brake with just the front brake, so it’s safer to never let the right hand off the brake lever.


Tabby
Participant
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nope, the reason is that it’s a hold-over from when cars didn’t have turn signals. All signals had to be made out the drivers side window.


robjdlc
Participant
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I’ve talked to too many drivers that don’t have a clue what the left hand signals for turning are, so I point.

Tabby is spot on for the source of the signals.


Lyle
Participant
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And that’s why, as you might guess, the signals are different in the UK.


ejwme
Participant
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wait – so what are they in the UK? just mirror, like everything else? Or is it something completely different, like lemon curry?

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